History of Trenton, Dodge County, Wisconsin
From: Dodge County, Wisconsin Past and Present
By Homer Bishop Hubbell
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912


This is one of the largest townships in the county. It comprises a half of town 12 north, range 14 east, and all of town 13 north, range 14 east, with a total of 34,501 acres of cultivable land. There is not a village or postoffice in it and yet it is regarded as one of the best in the county. The farms are well improved, good roads and traffic communication and everything desirable in this, the twentieth century. None of the small streams that traverse its borders are sufficiently large to afford water power and they take but little from the amount of land fit for cultivation.

Trenton is bounded on the north by Fond du Lac county, on the east by Chester and Burnett, on the south by Beaver Dam, and on the west by Fox Lake and Westford. Beaver Dam lake and the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad cut across the extreme southwest corner.

Among the first settlers were Sandy Cameron and James F. McCallum. The latter was for some years the proprietor of the Buckhorn Tavern, a well known and popular house in that day, when villages were few and far between and when the site of a creaking sign, announcing a public house, was a welcome one to the weary traveler.

The first town election was held at the residence of Judson Prentice. This gentleman was the first chairman of the board of supervisors in the town. He at that time lived on the road leading to Fox Lake. He later became a resident of Watertown. Judson Prentice was a native of Oneida county, New York. He came here in 1844 and engaged in farming. He then served as county surveyor and deputy surveyor for several years. He filled other offices of importance, such as state senator, supervisor, justice of the peace, etc. He resided in Juneau from 1852 to 1854. In the latter year he removed to Watertown. For his second wife he chose Olive Thompson, whom he married in Trenton in October, 1848. She was a daughter of one of the early settlers of Dodge county.

E. J. Boomer removed from Ohio to Wisconsin in February, 1843, and located in Trenton in the spring of 1844. He settled on one hundred and twenty acres of land. Indians used to camp forty or fifty at a time on his farm, presuming they had as much right there as he. Mr. Boomer's nearest neighbor was Israel Root, who lived in Beaver Dam.

John Bowe was born in Ireland and after having lived in various parts of the country he came to Dodge county in 1844, settling on one hundred and twenty acres of land in the town of Trenton. He married Ellen Maloney about 1854.

John Lemon was one of the earliest settlers here. He came to Trenton in 1844 and settled on one hundred and twenty acres of land, upon which he built a log house. In fact he helped to build about forty log houses in the neighborhood.

Hugh McCallum came to Wisconsin in 1844 with his family, among whom was one James F. McCallum. The family settled in the town of Trenton. They were among the first to arrive in this locality and remain permanently. Mr. McCallum put up a structure and opened a tavern which he designated as "Buckhorn." He prospered and the Buckhorn Tavern became known to all travelers throughout the country. People coming to Wisconsin from the old country heard favorably of this wayside inn. It was on the military road and the main thoroughfare to Palmyra, Milwaukee and other leading towns in this part of the country. From twenty five to thirty teams per day used to stop there. He fed as high as seventy two at a dinner. The table was always bountifully supplied: Mr. McCallum had about six hundred acres of land and raised five thousand bushels of wheat one year. He was "mine host" of the Buckhorn for a long period of time and was well and popularly known.

Another pioneer of this town was Xury Whiting, a native of the state of New York, who as a young man taught school, but desiring to broaden his field of endeavor came west in 1844 and settled on one hundred and twenty acres, which he improved and enlarged.

Hiram T. Wood came to Trenton with his mother and other members of the family from the state of New York in the fall of 1844 and settled on eighty acres of land. They first lived in a log house with one room.

Among the earliest settlers of Dodge county was Job Perry and family, who came here in the spring of 1844. His son, Eli, in 1850, started out for himself on a farm of one hundred acres which he purchased.

Rev. E. S. Peck came with his father, Elias Peck, from Connecticut in 1845, and settled on one hundred and sixty acres of land.

Robert P., McGlashan, a native of Scotland, came to America in an early day. The family arrived in Trenton in 1845 and settled on forty acres. His son, Robert Edwin, started in for himself about 1855, buying eighty acres of land in the town.

Alexander Nisbet was descended from the old Scottish covenanters. The family first settled in Vermont and from there came to Wisconsin.

In 1845 Alexander settled in Trenton on eighty acres, which he soon increased to many more. His father, Robert Nisbet, settled here in 1849. Joel Porter came to Wisconsin and settled in Trenton in 1845. He was one of the real pioneers of the county and died in 1853, at the age of fifty five. N. B. Porter came to Trenton in 1847 and settled on eighty acres, where he built a log house and lived in one room with open fire place and stone andirons. At his first Christmas he had a big feast. By splitting rails he earned some money, went to town, and buying a jug of molasses and one pound of sugar, went home and fared sumptuously. He married Eliza Cornell, daughter of Zahia Cornell, in 1848. In N. B. Porter's family at the time he arrived was L. S. Porter, who was then but a child in arms.

F. B. Colt and family came here in 1845 and settled on forty acres, where he built a log house and of course was among the first to locate in this vicinity. The Indians were quite numerous at the time and encamped on his farm on various occasions, upon one of which they had a great war dance. Mr. Colt was a relative of Colonel Colt, inventor and manufacturer of the Colt revolver and other firearms.

Nathan Dodge and family came to Trenton in 1846 and settled on forty acres of land. Nathan's wife was Eleanor Ackerman, a daughter of Joseph Ackerman, a pioneer of Waupun. When the family came to Trenton they had no means and lived in a log house. They were not even possessed of a cow and only one yoke of oxen, one of which was blind. By working at husking corn and odd jobs, Mr. Dodge won enough to purchase his first wagon. He became one of the prosperous men of the community.

An early settler was Colonel John Cochrane, who came to Wisconsin about 1846 and was among the first to occupy land in Trenton between Fox Lake and Waupun. He first lived in a log house and kept "bachelor's hall" for a while. He settled on seven hundred and twenty acres of land, one hundred and twenty of which was in timber.

J. B. Cochrane and son, Hugh C. Cochrane, settled on one hundred and twenty acres of land in section 3, in 1848 In 1870 he built the largest cheese factory in the county. Mr. Cochrane was a man of enterprise and influence.

Edison P. Cady, of Vermont, settled in Trenton in 1847. His father, Noah Cady, was one of the first to come and was the possessor of four hundred and forty acres. The Cadys became well known throughout this section of the county.

Ira Halstead came to Dodge county in 1847. In 1850 he settled in Trenton on one hundred and sixty acres of land.

David L. Cornell settled in this town in 1849 on one hundred and twenty acres in section 34, upon which he lived the greater part of his life. His first house was a 9 x 11 log cabin, covered with oak shingles.

Joseph Cleveland arrived here in 1849 and settled in the town of Trenton with his family, among whom was his eldest son, W. J. Cleveland. Joseph died in 1853, in his eightieth year. In 1849 W. J. Cleveland located in section 21, where he settled on one hundred and sixty acres.

George Warren, born in New York, settled on one hundred and sixty acres in Trenton in 1849. Later, in 1858, he engaged in the lumber business in Monroe county.

Mahlon Nivison came to the town of Le Roy, Dodge county, in the fall of 1847 and settled on one hundred and twenty acres of land. He removed therefrom to Trenton in 1855.

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